Tag: rothamsted research

Back to the future

Modern farming owes much to long-standing research that continues to pump out results and to provide valuable perspectives to guide the future of agricultural science, achievements that will be celebrated at a three-day international conference in May.

The Future of Long-Term Experiments in Agricultural Science, from 21–23 May, is being organised by the Association of Applied Biologists at Rothamsted Conference Centre to mark the 175th anniversary of the start of scientific investigations at Rothamsted.

Hidden threat to health

The Gates Foundation programme brings together teams in Ethiopia, Malawi, Kenya and the UK © Rothamsted Research

One of the most ambitious programmes to provide lasting improvements in nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa begins today when a diverse multinational team of experts from agriculture to ethics start looking for ways to end dietary deficiencies in essential micronutrients.

Rothamsted Research is contributing soil and crop expertise to the programme, known as GeoNutrition, which has received a grant of £4.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to cover 43 months’ work in Ethiopia and Malawi, principally.

Double dose for bees

In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, a team of researchers from Italy and the US record their study of the effects on honey bees of agriculture that exposes the insects to both poor nutrition (low quality nectar) and pesticides (neonicotinoids).

“Our results provide the first demonstration that these stressors can synergistically interact and cause significant harm to animal survival,” report the researchers. “These findings have implications for pesticide risk-assessment and pollinator protection, and emphasise the importance of nutrition.”

Agriculture needs a champion

Research investment in the life sciences has focused too much on medicine and biomedicine at the expense of agriculture and biotechnology more generally, acknowledges Sir Paul Nurse, Chief Executive & Director of the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre in London.

“One has only to take a short trip in this country to see how important agriculture is,” said Nurse, speaking today at Rothamsted Research after he had delivered a livestreamed talk on “Science as Revolution”, introduced by the institute’s chief Achim Dobermann in a crowded conference centre.

Thirteen years to go

© Rothamsted Research

Professor Achim Dobermann

Agriculture has just over a decade to adapt and evolve to new ways of working that will enable it to feed a growing global population without causing lasting damage to the environment, says Achim Dobermann, Director and Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research.

In a vision statement that concludes the institute’s annual report, released online today, Dobermann looks ahead to 2030, the year when the current 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations end.

Clean sweep for agriculture

The Field Scanalyzer’s digital array of cameras, laser scanners and sensors provide continuous data on performances of experimental crops

Agricultural research and development features prominently under “Clean Growth”, one of the four Grand Challenges of the government’s new “Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future”, announced today.

“We will put the UK at the forefront of the global move to high-efficiency agriculture,” says the 255-page white paper. “Over the coming years, we will increase the incentives for investment in sustainable agriculture, helping to grow the markets for innovative technologies and techniques.”